Language support at daycare centers: Federal Council wants to save language daycare centers

Federal funding for language day-care centers will expire at the end of the year. The Federal Council is now unanimously calling for the program to be continued.

Drawing of a teacher reading picture books with three children

At the request of the Federal Council, language day-care centers are to be permanently funded Photo: Peter Allen/imago

BERLIN dpa | The Bundesrat calls on the Federal Government to Support program “Language day-care centers” extended beyond 2022 and consolidated as a permanent federal program. This was decided unanimously by the state chamber at its meeting this Friday.

The decision was based on an application from the states of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Saarland, which contains the mandate to the federal government to continue to provide the funds for the program, which has been financed by the federal government since 2016.

Federal funding for the “Language Kitas” program expires at the end of the year. Since 2016, the federal government has been financing additional staff at daycare centers for language development, especially at facilities with many children with language needs. From next year, according to the will of Federal Family Minister Lisa Paus (Greens) the federal states take over the funding. But there has been resistance to this for weeks.

With its unanimous decision, the Federal Council has now sent a clear signal. According to the motion for a resolution by the regional chamber, almost 7,500 additional specialists are currently working in around 6,900 day-care centers thanks to federal funding. “This means that about every eighth day-care center in Germany is a language day-care center,” it says. The program has proven itself and is of particular importance for early childhood language education in day-care centers.

Family Minister Paus, in turn, refers to the so-called “Kita-Quality Act”, with which the federal government wants to provide the federal states with four billion euros for more staff and quality in their day-care centers – they could also use this to promote language, argues the Greens politician.

State financing only from next summer

At the same time, however, she concedes that the said law would only allow state financing of the “language day-care centers” from next summer. In order to be able to continue employing the employees of the “language day-care centers” from January 1 to July 1, 2023, transitional financing is required. The coalition is currently working on this.

The Federal Council’s call for action will now be forwarded to the Federal Government for examination. When and if she will comment on this is open. There is no obligation to deal with it.

Ekin Deligöz, Parliamentary State Secretary in the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, expressed a lack of understanding about the position of the federal states on Friday. “Daycare centers are a matter for the federal states, permanent funding of language daycare centers by the federal government is not possible,” said Deligöz of the German Press Agency.

It is now a matter of transferring the “language day-care centers” from the “limited model program to the control system of the originally responsible states”. The decision that has now been made in the Bundesrat shows that “unfortunately, the federal states have not yet been prepared” to work on a joint solution with the federal government. “It is to be hoped that they will soon be ready for talks,” Deligöz continued.

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